The Melody

By: Rich Wang

Allan Playing the violin


 Allan Tang hadn’t always wanted to be ordinary. He’d once believed he was special, destined to do good in the world, and be the next Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, or Yo-Yo-Ma. All that had changed in second grade. He didn’t think about it much- no one likes thinking about their failures- but Allan had pushed that memory so deeply inside his head so that he could almost never access it, even if he wanted to. From second grade and on, he’d never tried to do anything special. He’d only raise his hand to answer a question if everyone else was doing the same thing. Instead of playing tag with all the “nerds,” as other people called them, he played basketball. Even at home, after he finished all his homework, he simply watched TV until the day ended.

 Without question, he was the most ordinary person in the world, except for one tiny detail – he was extremely nervous. Before the incident in second grade, he’d been easy going, happy, and optimistic, no matter what happened. Now, he was always nervous, worried about what would happen if he was suddenly called out, embarrassed in front of everyone, or if he suddenly became infamous for doing something embarrassing. He knew his nervousness did him no favors, but he couldn’t stop it from happening. It was like the one large imperfection in a world that eventually makes it explode.

 As Allen walked around his room ,getting ready for his first day of middle school, he took a deep breath, and remembered his one rule for middle school :blend in. He said a quick goodbye to his sister and father, hugged his brother and mother, and walked out the door to his new school. As he walked out the door, he felt the nervous part of his brain firing up, and starting to think of all the ways bullies could begin to target him, or ways his teacher could embarrass him. He simply sighed, and walked out the door, while his brain kept on blabbing away to him about all the ways things could go wrong.


 As he walked to middle school, he only had one thought, which almost brought back his traumatic memory in second grade, “Things will never go your way if you try to stand out and be special. The only way to stay safe from embarrassment or injury is to blend in, and be normal.”

 Allan breathed a sigh of relief. It was sixth period, and he’d managed to make it through the day just being ordinary. Luckily, he had a normal schedule, just like everyone else, and he felt lucky that all his teachers seemed to be lenient. He knew that that was another advantage of being normal: teachers would give you second chances as long as you didn’t cause trouble.

  However, as he was walking out of his sixth period class, starting to walk towards his last period, he saw a large poster behind a group of eighth grade boys. He quickly slowed down his pace so he could read the poster without being seen by the eighth grade boys. He knew how quickly and easily innocent bystanders could turn to mean bullies.

 “JOIN THE ORCHESTRA CLUB! Fun with music, open to all, first meeting one week from now, and we meet everyday! Learn to have fun playing a musical instrument, and meet many other fellow instrument players here!” Allan read aloud. Allan thought about joining. He had once loved music, before the incident had happened. A flash of brown, a bow flying across strings, a tiny Allan trying to get closer to the player, when suddenly…

 “No!” Allan thought, pushing himself out of the memory. He quickly walked to his 7th period class. He knew that the majority of kids arrived two minutes before the tardy bell, so that was when he walked into the classroom. As more and more kids filed into the bright and sunny classroom, Allan pondered the question of whether or not he should join Orchestra club. As his teacher, Mr. Rishy, began to talk, he felt himself beginning to pay closer attention to the teacher than his Orchestra problem.

 “I’ll think about it later,” he promised himself.

 He thought about it- a lot. He thought about it while he was packing up and waiting for the bus. He thought about it when he was on the bus and walking the short distance home. He especially thought about it when he got home. After he finished his homework, he pondered this problem some more. However, at dinner, he still couldn’t reach a conclusion. Because of this, he decided to ask his mother and brother about it.

 “Hey mom, hey Mason,” he called. “Where are dad and Risada?”

 “They’re at a football game tonight,” Mason responded. “How was your first day of middle school?”

 “It was fine, but there’s something nagging at me,” Allan admitted. “So I was just walking through the halls of Leoj Middle School when I saw this poster on the wall. It was about joining the orchestra club. I’ve had a few… incidents in the past with orchestra instruments, but I’ve been wondering… if it’s time to try one more time.” The instant he finished his sentence, the nervous section of his brain instantly started protesting.

 “Not now!” he roared at his brain, but it did no good. From the way his brother and mom were staring at him, he was pretty sure they knew what he was experiencing.

 “Problems with… the thingy… again?” his brother asked awkwardly. Allan simply nodded.

 “Well, anyways, Allan, I think you should! Playing any instrument in general is very beneficial! It helps you with hand-eye coordination, and it helps you with your college and job applications!” his mom exclaimed.

 “Mom, we’ve been through this already. I’m not going to be anyone famous. I’m just a normal kid.” Suddenly Allan fell into his memory, back when he’d never have said that, not even if he was going to be paid to.

  It was the day of the concert. Joshua Euler, the most famous violinist of all time was performing. Allan’s ears were pricked, and a smile split across his face as the most beautiful music he’d ever heard came calling to his ears. Suddenly it was all over. Allan was sure out of all the people clapping, no one had clapped louder than him. Suddenly, he heard Joshua talking. He heard Joshua asking if anyone wanted to try and play his violin. Alan nearly squealed with delight, and raised his hand. He was barely comprehending the fact that his sister and father, the athletic people in the family, telling him to put his hand down. Then Joshua called on him! Allan’s face lit up like a thousand candles forming a smile. Then, all of a sudden, as he walked up-

Buy Roche Valium 10Mg  “Allan?” his brother asked. Allan instantly snapped back to the present.

 “Wha-?” Allan muttered. Then he remembered where he was. “Mom, what were you saying again?” His mom repeated what she’d just said.

 Allan nodded. “I think I should go for it.” Allan knew that his sister and father would not approve. Then again, they’d never really cared about anything he did ever since they’d realized he was no good at sports.

 His brother grinned. “Well, at least now I won’t be the only music player in the family!”

 The next day was a Saturday. Allan loved the weekends because he knew there was a much lower probability he’d be the center of attention on those days. He thought about the lesson he always followed, “Things will never go your way if you try to stand out and be special. The only way to stay safe from embarrassment or injury is to blend in, and be normal.” The one time he didn’t have to worry about this was at the end of every week. He breathed a sigh of relief, knowing how on the weekends, he could just stay in the house, and read a book.

 Suddenly his brother walked into his room, smiling. “Allan!” he cried, “I was just on the phone, talking to one of my friends, and he said that he has a spare violin he can lend you!”

 Allan nodded, and said, “OK.” Then the weight of what his brother had just said slammed into him. Go outside… during the weekend? This could lead to many bad things, from seeing a bully at Leoj middle school somewhere, to getting noticed by several grown ups. Allan had read enough stories to know that although most adults wouldn’t really do anything if they saw you, some might think that they saw something special in you and possibly take a picture of you, or possibly even post a story about you on the internet, which could lead to all sorts of teasing at school. Then he remembered that he had agreed with his mom to go to Orchestra Club.

 “Don’t worry Allan, it’ll be fun! Remember how much you used to like classical music?” his brother questioned him. Allan remembered. And he remembered well. His nervousness subsided a little, replaced by the longing to hear that beautiful violin sound again.

 “OK, let’s go.” Allan said.

 Once they were there, Allan gave a simple “Thank you!” to Mason’s friend, whose name turned out to be Kevin. Kevin simply nodded, and told Alan use it wisely.

When Allan got home,he immediately tried it out. He unlocked the violin case, took it out, and tried to play it. All that came out of the violin was a high-pitched squeaking sound. Right then and there, Allan almost believed that his nervous side was right- he’d never be good enough, and if he ever tried to play in public, all that would happen was that he would embarrass himself. However, he fiercely kept on trying.

 “One day,  I’ll be as good as Joshua Euler!” he thought, which was so much like a thought he’d had in second grade that he almost fell into his memories again, but he caught himself just in time.

 Over the next week, things seemed to be normal. Every day, Allan blended into the crowd, and no one noticed him. However, at home, Allan was practicing his violin as much as possible. His brother was so happy that Allan was playing, that Mason even began to teach Allan all the tips and tricks he knew about playing the violin.

 However, when Friday finally came, Allan was shaking from head to toe. He barely heard his mother and brother when they wished him good luck at Orchestra Club, and he didn’t even see his dad and sister scowling as they looked at the violin under his arm.

 First and second period passed in a flash for Allan, and time seemed to speed up for him that day. Before he even realized it, he was standing in front of the doors leading to Orchestra Club. As he walked into the room, he felt as though he were entering another dimension. He nervously walked to a seat at the back of the room. After he sat down, he took a quick look around, and saw everyone else simply practicing playing their instrument. Knowing that to not be noticed, he should do the same as them. He felt his nerves firing up, telling him everything that could go wrong if he played it. However, he knew that he had to, or else he would attract even more attention. As he unpacked his violin, he decided to just play it, and see what would happen. To his surprise, no one laughed at him, or even glanced at him. Allan felt his nervousness ease a little, and he pulled out the piece of music he’d been working on. Even after he made mistakes on the piece, no one began to make fun of him. After the day ended, Allan began to realize perhaps his time at Orchestra Club wouldn’t be so bad after all. As the weeks past by, Allan became better and better, more and more dedicated.

  However, a month after he had first gone to Orchestra club, he found a young boy with blond hair asking him a question. The boy’s name was Tashin, and he turned out to be friendly, and asked Allan if he wanted to come practice at his house with his friends. Allan was so shocked that he declined the invitation, but after Tashin talked to him, he found others talking to him more and more. Another boy named Cire told him he was amazing at playing the violin. A girl named Tage joked with him about the cello players. As more and more days went by, His days at Orchestra Club became more and more fun. For the first time in his life, he felt as though he was finally learning how to have fun.

 Then, one day, about two months since he’d started going to Orchestra Club, he saw another poster on the wall, one the looked a lot like the one that had invited him to come to Orchestra Club, but with different words.

 “Orchestra Competition, for those who wish to try competing in a competition for Orchestra. This is not mandatory, but this competition is open to all who wish to compare themselves to others. We wish every single one of you the best of luck!” Allan read allowed.

 “Hey, are you competing?” he heard a voice next to him ask. Allan turned to see Tage looking quizzically at him.

 “Oh!” Allan said, embarrassed. “Um, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I mean, uh… I probably won’t. I’m terrible at playing anyways. Have you heard me playing?”

 “No you aren’t! You’re one of the best in the class!” Allan turned around to see Tashin looking at him, wide eyed. “You’re amazing! I’d say you’re even better than Cleb Titan, last year’s champion!”

 “Um, who’s that?” Allan asked.

 “That would be me.” A boy with a sneer on his face followed by six other tough-looking boys seemingly appeared out of nowhere. The boy was skinny, with eyes the color of black holes. He was thin and shorter than Allan, but what really surprised Allan was Cleb’s hairstyle. Cleb’s hair was like a cyclone, sticking out in all directions, curving and wavy.

 “So, you think YOU can beat ME? Wow loser, you’ve got spunk. Of course, that’ll never happen, but bad luck trying!” Cleb said with a laugh, and instantly his gang began to chuckle as well.

 “I never said I could beat you!” Allan protested, while Tashin simultaneously exclaimed, “Of course he will!”  

 “See, even the big loser says he won’t beat me. Don’t even bother trying!” Cleb said with a smirk as he and his group of buddies walked away, laughing.

 The instant Cleb left, Tashin and Tage both turned on him in surprise, and Tashin said, “You have to enter, to beat that smug old Cleb Titan!” While Tage said, “I can’t believe you think you’re bad at the violin! The entire class has heard you play, and you’re amazing!”

 Allan rubbed his forehead and quickly ran back to his seat before Tashin and Tage could say anything else about how good he was. He was terrible! Couldn’t anyone see that?

 “Unless, you only think you’re bad so that the nervous side of your brain can be satisfied that you won’t be embarrassed at the competition,” the reasonable side of his brain whispered. Allan tried to play on normally, but all he could see was Cleb’s smirk, and how he knew there was no way he would be able to beat Cleb. Finally, Allan decided that he should leave. After all, he wasn’t doing any good just sitting around in Orchestra Club doing nothing.

 After Orchestra Club, the first thing he did when he got home was ask his mother and brother whether he should join. They both reacted in the same way Tashin and Tage had, by saying that he should join. Allan could only agree. After all, everyone except him had told him to join, and he knew that if he didn’t join, people might suddenly start wondering why he didn’t join the competition, which would make HIM the center of attention. So, the next day at school, Allan went to the Orchestra Club teacher and signed up for the competition.

 However, there was one problem. Allan knew he hadn’t done anything to make Cleb hate him, yet when he was walking to his second period class, Cleb and his gang walked behind him, and he heard them purposely making loud comments about how stupid he was, and how he didn’t even know how to open his locker. As this continued for the next few periods, Allan became more and more confused. Why did Cleb suddenly hate him? However, almost a week after Allan had signed up for the competition, Allan began to feel other people’s eyes on him. The nervous side of his brain instantly began to panick, and Allan wanted to run home and hide there forever. As he walked through the halls, everyone stopped to look at him.

 “STOP STARING AT ME!” Allan wanted to scream, but he didn’t. He knew if he did, he would only attract even more attention. Then, as if he had been hit by a bolt of lightning, he realized why everyone was looking at him. He knew that Cleb was a semi-popular person, from the way that several people looked at him when he walked through the halls of Leoj Middle School. He realized that since Cleb was taunting him, everyone wanted to see why Cleb was after a kid like him.

 To make matters worse, now that his father and sister knew that he played the violin well, they were starting to stress him out more and more. Several times a day, he caught his father glaring at his violin, and he’d also heard his sister mention to several of her friends how she was so embarrassed that she now had two nerdy siblings, Allan and Mason, and how she hated them both for not playing sports.

 The only two things that stopped Allan from quitting Orchestra Club altogether from this pressure were his friends at Orchestra Club, and his brother. Tashin and Tage had convinced many of their friends, who were tired of Cleb’s bragging, to help Allan. At first, Allan had worried they would laugh at his playing, but he soon realized that everyday, they offered him helpful and polite advice and tips on how to perform wonderfully to the judges.

 His brother was the other thing that carried him through the days to the competition.  Everyday when he got home, regardless of his father and sister’s cutting remarks about how dumb they were to play a musical instrument, he taught Allan everything he knew on how to play better, and how to relax during the competition. He also taught Allan how to calm down his nerves before he played, and how to just enjoy himself while playing the violin. Allan got better and better as the days passed, and before he knew it, there were only three days left until the competition.

 “What? Canceled?” Allan exclaimed to Mr. Rishy during his last period before Orchestra Club.

 Mr. Rishy nodded, and said, “Sorry Allan, but you’ll have to walk home today. Your bus driver got sick and is at home.”

 Allan could only gape in astonishment, and after a fun Orchestra Club with his friends, he began the long walk home with his backpack and violin. However, he had only gone a short distance when he was suddenly shoved to the floor, face first. Allan groaned, and when he flipped over, he saw Cleb standing in front of him with a smirk on his face.

 “You know, I’m tired of having everyone say you might beat me in a competition, so I think I can just remove you from it without anyone watching,” Cleb said with a sweet smile. “Boys, grab him and give me his violin.” Instantly, Cleb’s gang grabbed his arms and feet while one of the skinniest boy in Cleb’s gang grabbed his violin and handed it to Cleb. Alan cried out in terror, but Cleb only laughed and smashed his violin to pieces on the floor. Suddenly Allan began to fall back into his memories, where something just as terrible as this had happened. Another broken violin… only… As eight-year-old Allan walked up to the stage where Joshua Euler looked at him, smiling.

 “What’s your name?” Joshua asked him with a smile.  “Allan!” Allan said through his chattering teeth and shaking hands.

 “Well Allan, this is a violin! Have you ever played one before?” Joshua asked Allan.

 “No, I haven’t, Mr. Euler!” Allan replied.  “Well, I’m going to teach you how to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star , by Mozart!” Joshua said, grinning. “Just play these strings in the order I tell you: Play this one, then that one, then this one…”

 As they played the song, Allan trembled with excitement. He was playing the violin with Joshua! This was amazing!

 Suddenly, as they approached the end of the song, Allan’s fingers started to get sweaty, he felt his grip on the violin slipping. Allan started to call out to Joshua, but before a sound even came out of his throat, the violin began to fall to the marble floor. The world seemed to move in slow motion to Allan as the violin went splat on the floor. And then, as though struck by lightning, the violin shattered, pieces of it flying this way and that, some landing on Allan himself, other falling onto Joshua.

 Allan heard a gasp from the crowd, and saw everyone’s eyes on him. Allan bolted out of the theatre room, and from that day on, he never tried to be special again, only ordinary…

Buying Diazepam 5Mg Online  Allan opened his eyes, and for a moment he didn’t realize where he was. Then he remembered: Cleb Titan and his gang, his broken violin, himself falling into his memories. Cleb looked to his right and saw that his violin was shattered into a thousand pieces, the same way Joshua Euler’s had. Allan felt tears coming into his eyes. How would he ever get another violin in time for the competition? Allan grabbed his backpack, and ran home with a sob, not even paying attention to throbbing in his head, telling him how he should never have tried to stand out.

 When he got home, the first thing he did was tell his mother and brother what had happened. Then he locked himself in his room and simply cried. He would never again hear the sound of Orchestra music again. He was no one, and trying to be special had only gotten him in trouble. He cried his heart out, until he finally drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep.

 Allan didn’t know how he had managed to drag himself out of bed and eat breakfast with his family. Everyone was quiet that day while they ate, except for his Mason’s one comment: “Mom has informed the principal of what happened.” At school that day, Allan didn’t know what he was going to do about Orchestra Club anymore. He lowered his head, thinking about it, when suddenly, he bumped into someone in front of him.  


 Allan looked up and saw Cleb and his gang growling at him. Allan stood, frozen in fear even while the nervous part of his brain yelled at him to run away. He only stood there, petrified, as Cleb glowered at him.


 “So you told the principal about what happened, huh? Thanks a lot loser, cause now I’m in trouble, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT!” Cleb was spitting mad, and Allan realized just how angry he was by the way he could barely form sentences and was gasping with rage. Cleb growled, and exclaimed, “You know, I think you’ve caused enough trouble today. I’m going to-”

 “You’re not going to do anything!” Allan turned around and saw Tashin, Tage, Cire, and their friends coming up behind him. Allan’s body filled with relief at the sight of his friends, but nervous at what they would think when he told them he couldn’t compete in the competition before.

Cleb’s buddies came up to Cleb’s shoulder, growling. Cleb assessed the situation, looking outraged, but he knew it would do no good to attack Allan, not while he had his friends at his back.

 “It doesn’t matter. See you never at the competition!” Cleb muttered under his breath to Allan, and he and his buddies left.

 “Are you OK?” Cire asked him. “Come on, we’d better all get to our next class, or we’ll be late.” His group of friends dispersed. However, the only thing he could think about was what he was going to tell his friends, who had been so hopeful at the fact that he was finally going to defeat Cleb Titan.

 Allan skipped Orchestra Club that day, and the nervous part of his brain still wouldn’t stop worrying, even though he’d delayed telling his fellow Orchestra Club members the truth about what was going to happen for one day. He rode home in silence, and was surprised when he saw that the lights were off. Usually, his brother and mother got home before him. Suddenly, the lights were flicked on and he saw Mason and his mom jump from behind a sofa cushion, shouting, “Surprise!” Allan couldn’t believe his eyes. Not because his mom and brother had surprised him, but because in Mason’s arms was a new violin, that said, “For Allan.” Allan couldn’t believe his eyes. He jumped for joy, feeling as though he could touch the sky.

 “Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!” Allan yelled. He didn’t have to tell his friends that he couldn’t compete anymore! He still had a chance to win. A small part of him buzzed back to the first time he had seen Joshua Euler play, and how now, he could do the same, with his brand new violin.

 The next two days past in a blur, with him joking with Tashin, and ignoring Cleb’s murderous stares. Only a minute seemed to pass before there was only one day left until the competition, and then time seemed to run so fast that Allan felt as though he’d suddenly teleported into the building where the competition was going to take place. Allan nervously awaited his turn. Time had passed so fast, but now it seemed to slow down, making him more and more nervous with each passing second. His stomach had butterflies flying in it when he became the first in line. Suddenly, he saw Cleb playing in a different room. His music was faint, but Allan could just make it out. As he continued listening, he felt more and more light-headed. He couldn’t believe how well Cleb was playing! When his rival finished, Allan thought, “I’ll never be able to play as good as him. I can’t, I CAN’T!” He felt his old paranoia rising up again. Suddenly, he heard his mom, brother, and all his friends’ voice telling him to just calm down.

 He heard Tashin’s voice in his head, telling him, “You’re one of the best in the class!” He remembered the way his brother and mother had given him his new violin after Cleb broke his old one. He thought about all the people who believed in him, and slowly, his nervousness subsided

He took deep breaths and calmed down. As Cleb walked out of his room, grinning confidently, he shoved Allan out of the way and whispered “You’ll never be as good as me,” at Allan. Allan’s paranoia came up again, but with his friend Tashin’s words in his mind, “You’re amazing! I’d say you’re even better than Cleb Titan, last year’s champion!” Allan stepped into the room.

 As he walked into the room, he saw the judge looking at him expectantly. He slowly unpacked his stuff and set up his stand. Then he began to play. He tried as hard as he could, and he could feel his fingers flying across the strings, his bow a blur. He played and simply listened to his beautiful music. It motivated Allan, and he truly realized what his brother meant by, “enjoy the moments you play.” However, as he went into the middle section of his music, he started to panic. Had he played his E sharp too flat? Had he overdone that accent? Had he forgotten to play the trill on G? Then he almost heard the voices inside his head. He heard every encouraging word his family and friends had told him. He saw Risada, Cire, Tage, and everyone else who believed in him. With them in his mind, cooling him down, he stopped worrying. He played as well as he could, and when he finished, Allan’s mind was reeling from shock. Was it really over? As he turned around to look at the judge, the judge simply smiled and nodded at him. As he walked out of the room, his saw his his family standing outside.

 “How did you do?” his father asked.

 “I don’t know, but I hope I did well!” Allan answered. Then he realized something.

 “Wait, dad, Risada, I thought you didn’t want me to play the violin!” Allan yelped in surprise.

His dad and sister then grunted, and his sister told him his mom had somehow managed to convince them to support him playing music. Allan only nodded, when suddenly his father and sister enveloped him in a fierce hug.

 “We’ve never actually hated you, no matter what you’ve heard us say. It’s just that we wanted you to be athletic. But we love you no matter what you do,” Risada told him. “And we hope you win!”

 Allan’s head spun as they walked together, as a family, to the auditorium.

 Allan went to his seat, and saw several people already seated. He wondered what chance he had at winning, out of all these amazing violin players.

 “All these people have practiced extremely hard for the competition. What chance do I have?” His brain whispered to him. He squashed down his feelings of doubt. Being nervous would only make the feelings of defeat worse if he lost. Then he saw an official-looking lady walk onto the stage.

 He and his family watched the lady on stage tell the audience listening how every performer had done a good job, and thanked several people for helping them. Allan felt his stomach jump around nervously, and hoped he had beat Cleb with all his might.

 The lady on stage suddenly announced, “Thank you to everyone for coming, and congratulations to all of you for playing so well!” Allan heard many people clapping and did the same.

 After the audience had calmed down, the lady apologized for the fact that not everyone could win. “It was a tough decision,” she announced. “But we have our winners! In 20th place, we have Andreas Elliot, from Thes Middle School!” Allan watched Andreas go up to the stage, smiling. However, Allan could tell by the stillness of his hands that he had been disappointed he hadn’t ranked higher.

 The next few people were from schools he didn’t know. Fifteenth was Govind Vikram from Rooster Middle School, and tenth was Walter Wahtbar, who was homeschooled. Then fifth place was called, and fourth place, and third place, taken by someone named Thokozani Mauro, from Besterly Junior High. Allan’s hands were shaking, and he wasn’t sure whether he was happy that he hadn’t been called, for that gave him a chance to be first, or sad that he hadn’t been called, since the nervous side of his brain thought he wouldn’t place.

 Suddenly, the lady announced, “and for first two places, we nearly had a tie. Cleb and Allan, come up here!” Cleb and Allan walked onto the stage. The lady congratulated both of them for making it so far, and told them how proud South Carolina was of them both.


 “However, as you know, we can only have one victor!” The lady announced. Cleb gave Allan a deadly smile, which Allan could see several emotions in: rage, anger, nervousness, and uncertainty.

“And our winner is….” The woman yelled, “ALLAN!”

The woman walked over and gave Allan the first place trophy, and then gave Cleb the second place trophy, whose face now contained a look of such shock and rage that Allan thought it might blow him across the Earth. However, Cleb didn’t move, and simply stood there, staring at Allan.

 “Let’s all congratulate ALLAN!” The woman shouted, and in the audiences fierce clapping, Allan realized he felt just like Joshua Euler. Allan searched the crowd and saw his family, standing there, and he could imagine the overjoyed faces of Tashin, Cire, Tage, and all his other friends when they heard he’d won. He had done it! He had somehow won! He had finally overcome his nervous feelings since his worst failure. This was what he had once dreamed of becoming, and what he had finally become.



Rich Wang